As a small business owner, having clients who consistently fail to pay their invoices (on time or at all) is more than just an annoyance, it can seriously affect your business cash flow. This week we look at 6 simple ways you can encourage your client base to pay their invoices on time.
Encourage your customers to make their payments on time by offering same kind of incentive such as a discount. However, it’s important to strike a balance by offering your customer something that seems valuable to them, but doesn’t put you at a loss.
Make it easy
Ask your client what the most convenient time and payment format would be for them. Being flexible and illustrating that you are customer service focused increases the likelihood that your client will make their payment on time.
Offer more than one payment option
Consider being a little more flexible in terms of the payment types you are willing to accept. For example, you might expand into online payment, a format which is extremely convenient for the client and low cost.
If you have a client who regularly pays their invoices late, get into the habit of following them up with calls or emails in the days leading up to a due date. Aside from reminding them that there is a payment due (if they are indeed forgetting), they will eventually get tired of your pestering and change their payment habit to get you to stop.
Consider negative reinforcement
For some clients, negative reinforcement such as a penalty or late fee can be an effective way of illustrating that you are not willing to put up with late payments. Just like with positive reinforcement, you want to strike a balance between an amount that is large enough to make your customer reconsider their behaviour, but not so large that they leave you for a competitor.
Clean up your invoice design
Sometimes invoices aren’t paid because clients find it difficult to understand the bill and intend to query it but never get around to doing so. Make your invoices easy to understand by showing your calculations clearly down the page and clearly summarising the final payment amount at the bottom. Make sure your number is prominently displayed so that if customers are still confused, it’s easy to get in contact with you.